I’ve recently come across many of the same questions when it comes to homeowners installing a soffit. Is it worth getting one installed? Do I even need one at all?
So I thought I’d give you a summary of the benefits of having a soffit and what it would mean for you and your home to go along without one.
Insulation – There’s an element of truth here; soffits protect against the elements. With a second ceiling, cold air is less inclined to come through, whilst heat is less inclined to be lost through the ceiling.
Reduces the appearance of mould – In the short term, a soffit can mean that any moulding areas created by humidity won’t show through. Unless the problem is severe, these will usually dry up by summer, and you and your home would be none the wiser!
General Lighting – One of the main pros of having a soffit is that you can install several recessed lights throughout your home as general lighting, which will give your space illumination throughout, resulting in an evenly lit environment. Lighting is a huge part of design and should in no way be underestimated.
Design & Divisions – Sometimes, a soffit can be used as a decorative feature in your home. Maybe you want to focus on a certain part of the room, such as a bar or kitchen area. In these cases, soffits can be used to create a different level in the room, showcasing the fact that that area is for a different use. Especially in open plan areas, this helps create a division between spaces.
Creating a cosy space – Lower ceilings can give the illusion of a warmer and cosier space, so many homeowners with high ceilings might opt for a soffit to bring the room in together and create a warmer space.
… And a home without a soffit?
Insulation – There are definitely other ways of insulating your home, and although a soffit would help in this area, it’s in no way the beginning and end of a warm home. Underfloor heating, wall insulation and general heating units produce greater warmth, so I wouldn’t recommend a soffit, should this be your main concern.
Mould – If mould is your problem, then you should really get down to the bottom of it and fix it, rather than use materials to ignore it. Mould could be coming from a lack of ventilation in your home, or a need for a dehumidifier for those winter months. Either way, concealing mould is not the answer, as it can also be a health hazard for those living in the property.
Lighting – I’d say that this is the main reason why people do opt for soffits. They can’t seem to get their minds around the idea of an alternative to recessed lighting. Well, there is! My favourite lighting to use when a soffit hasn’t been installed is track lighting. They’re cool to look at and work just as well at balancing light as recessed lights do. What’s more is that you can choose different styles and shapes, and work your way round your home with them in any configuration you want! Pendant lights with multi bulbs are also a great alternative, as they can shoot light in different directions, as well as introduce more personality into your home.
Design and Divisions – Whilst a soffit can in fact divide spaces in the same room or even add to the design as a feature, there are multiple ways of doing this without changing up your ceiling. Pendant lighting creates focal points in rooms, as does a change in wall colour or furniture. Consider using dividers between areas such as a free standing bookcase or a central fireplace, which will give the impression that the room is divided without the need of changing levels in your ceiling.
Creating a cosy space – Whilst lower ceilings can give the illusion of a cosier room, again, there are so many ways of creating this effect without the use of a soffit. Play with colour and texture to add warmth, and make sure to use soft furnishings such as rugs and curtains to lock the heat in and generate a warmer feel.
Deciding whether a soffit is for you or not is a very subjective and personal thing. Not every home requires it, and taste and style have a big impact on whether having a soffit is the right decision for you. Make sure to think about why you’re considering it and make sure you research the area in depth before going ahead with the final decision. Both homes with and without soffits can look gorgeous, so it’s all about personal interpretation!
For more interior design inspiration, check out Lillie Helena.